Relevance of Gandhism in a high-performing organisation
Mahatma Gandhi was arguably one of the most influential leaders of all time. His thoughts, methods and philosophy, albeit deceptively simple, were powerful enough to compel the mighty British Empire to leave India. Is the Gandhian philosophy relevant today? Can his methods be applied to a new-age corporate environment? Can they help in creating organisational culture that sustains high performance? Gandhiji said, "Truth alone will endure; all the rest will be swept away before the tide of time." He equated Truth to God. Can this power of truth be put to effective use in organisations?" Yes, by creating a culture that respects data, facts and objectivity; a culture, which nurtures just one version of truth and discourages people from interpreting facts in different ways to suit their own agendas. Let's consider an example. A company was facing high attrition and was losing key talent but a resourceful manager was able to slice and dice data and put together compelling charts. By looking at certain trends and ignoring outlying data, he managed to cover up a dismal picture. This resulted in shifting the focus away from identifying key reasons of employee discontent and an opportunity to improve morale. What is needed is a culture that allows the organisation to face the bitter truth, that lets the management stare at the brutal reality and not be misled by ‘creative' interpretations. Truth is also unaffected by hierarchy and needs to be told in its naked beauty by even the junior-most employee to the senior-most executive without fear. A culture of transparency, openness and ‘not shooting the messenger' needs to prevail. Ahimsa or Non-violence was Gandhiji's most cherished value. Violence or force as a means to influence an outcome is just the wrong way for humans. In corporate life too, how often do we use force in place of persuasion to achieve an outcome? How often do we misuse positional power, to get...
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